A Kestrel hovering against a blue sky

Kestrel

A Kestrel hangs poised and focused over the cliffs at Carnivan, waiting to pounce on its unsuspecting and unfortunate prey. A common sight around the coasts this bird of prey can usually be seen hovering in the sky looking for it’s lunch. It mainly eats small mammals but can also be seen eating insects, invertebrates…

A yellow butterfly on a yellow flower

Clouded Yellow Butterfly

Over the last couple of months the Clouded Yellow butterfly put on a good display around parts of the Hook Peninsula, especially Booley Bay. A visitor from Northern Africa, it visits mainly the South and East of Ireland. Its beautiful deep yellow colour is best seen when in flight, as it always rests with folded…

An orange butterfly with brown and white spots against a background of grey gravel.

Painted Lady

A migrant from North Africa the Painted Lady Butterfly (Vanessa cardui) is a regular visitor to these shores. They can be found mainly from June to September along the south and east coasts. The Painted Lady is one of the most widespread butterflies in the world and can be found on every continent except South…

Moon Jellyfish

Over the recent weeks you may have spied many of these on the beaches around the peninsula. Meet the Moon Jellyfish (Aurelia aurita). It drifts with the current feeding on plankton and mollusks from as far north as Greenland to as far south as Cape Town. Its four luminous moons (gonads-for reproduction) are readily visible…

A spider web clinging to a crevice in a rock cliff

Opportunist Spiders

Home sweet Home. Spider webs are a familiar sight everywhere inland from ditches to gardens, to inside your house. Spiders are opportunists and will set up camp anywhere they believe they will catch food. In this case, an Orb-web spider has set up his home on a sheer cliff -face down at Baginbun, literally metres…

An orange butterfly with brown spots on a blackberry flower.

Silver-washed Fritillary

The Silver-washed Fritillary is our largest resident butterfly and is especially found in the south of Ireland. It gets its name from the silvery splashes on its under wings. A powerful flier, it prefers thin, broad leaved woodland where it can be seen gliding back and forth along sunny pathways feeding on the nectar of…

A group of gannets with one perched on a rock above the rest

Gannets

Gannet is derived from the Old English for strong or masculine. Northern Gannets are the largest seabird in the North Atlantic, having a wingspan of up to 2 meters. You can often see these birds hunting fish by nose diving, arrow like into the water. They can dive from a height of 30 meters which…

A head of a Grey Seal just poking above the water.

Grey Seals

Say hi to Podge and Rodge! Whilst scanning with my binoculars from Hook Head over the water toward Dunmore East the other day, these two kept popping up to see what I was up to. So I said I’d give them their 15 minutes of fame! Grey seals are the larger of our two seals…

A grasshopper sitting on a rock with a plant in the background

Common Field Grasshopper

A common sight is the Common Field Grasshopper like the one pictured here in Saltmills. Their colour can vary from green through brown, to almost black. More often heard than seen, they chirp away in the vegetation or on rocks and bare ground. They call in short repetitive fizzes or in longer spells sounding like…

A small bird on a pillar

Stonechat

The Stonechat gets its name from its call, similar to what you would hear if you took a pebble in each hand and hit them off each other. Similar in size to the robin it also has a reddish tinge to its breast. Both male and female are similar in appearance, apart from the males…